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Godzilla: Unleashed is the third game in the Pipeworks trilogy of Godzilla games and it didn’t review well. In fact, it’s the worst rated game in the trilogy. The Wii version forces motion controls because apparently adding support for the Classic or GameCube Controller was a foreign concept for many developers during that time. I was really tempted to play the PlayStation 2 version but I read it was just an updated version of Save the Earth that wasn’t optimized properly. Developed by Pipeworks Software and published by Atari, Godzilla: Unleashed was released for Wii and PlayStation 2 in November 2007. The Nintendo DS version, titled Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash, was released in December of that same year. Unleashed features the largest roster of monsters in the trilogy and includes two original Toho-approved creations: Krystalak and Obsidius.
The story is set years after the events of Save the Earth. A meteor shower causes climate changes and the crystals that have appeared on the ground have caused monsters to attack cities across the Earth. The alien race known as the Vortaak return and attempt to use the crystals to seize the planet. Unleashed contains the most fleshed out story in the trilogy but it’s very uninteresting. I appreciate the effort but this game really made me realize how much I preferred the simple stories in the previous games. The cut scenes consist of images accompanied by awful voice acting, none of the characters are memorable, and the plot is more bad than campy.
In terms of difficulty, Godzilla: Unleashed is by far the easiest game in the trilogy. However, the real challenge is fighting the controls because they suck. Forced motion controls strike again. The fact that the game has motion controls doesn’t bother me. It’s the fact that they’re forced. Anyway, I would recommend you play through the training mode with a few monsters so you know how to properly perform moves. Unfortunately, the training mode doesn’t show you everything, just the basics of each monster. You’ll be swinging and shaking the Wii remote and Nunchuck like a lunatic to perform moves and in frustration because the moves don’t always register which is one of the game’s biggest problems. The AI won’t relentlessly smack you around like a little bitch this time but you can still struggle during a fight because your moves aren’t registering and because it can be very easy to perform the wrong moves.
AI opponents are easier but they can also be stupid. I’ve seen them stand around and seemingly do nothing as you beat them to a pulp. Surprisingly, I found the camera to be improved over that of its predecessors. It’s still not perfect but it is better. The auto or soft lock-on mechanic can be a real nuisance if you’re opponent is nearby and you’re trying to move a certain location or target something specific. The monsters have multiple health and energy bars. A health bar depletes as you take damage and when fully depleted it won’t recharge. Energy depletes when you use energy-based attacks and you can manually charge up energy this time around. Each monster can perform the same basic functions but they do come with their own unique attacks and abilities. You can walk, run, block or brace, jump, pick up and throw objects and opponents, some monsters can fly and they can all fire their own breath or beam attack which drains energy. If you unleash your breath/beam attack at the same time as your opponent, you’ll enter a duel and have to overpower your foe to win. And it happens way too often here, making me not want to use the attack at all.
Scattered throughout the environments are crystals which can provide benefits to the monsters. Breaking yellow ones restores energy and breaking blue ones restores health. Breaking crystals will fill up your critical meter and when the meter is full, you’ll enter Critical Mass where your monster becomes larger and inflicts more damage but its defense is lowered. In certain game modes, you can activate power surges from powers gained by breaking specific crystals. These are basically power-ups that come in different types. There’s a fire surge that lets you deal more damage, a speed one that increases movement and attack speed, and a radiation surge that increases health and energy regeneration, among several others.
The monsters are categorized into four factions: Earth Defenders, Aliens, Global Defense Force, and Mutants leading to four different endings in the story mode. The large roster is impressive and you’ll get to play as many classic monsters including Godzilla 1954. The story mode plays out in days and the objectives are usually to destroy crystals or defeat your foes. Sometimes monsters from other factions will appear and either help or attack you. The faction concept is actually pretty neat and your status with another faction can change depending on your actions. The gameplay does become more challenging as you progress through the story and knowledge of each monster’s move set is the real key to winning. That and hoping your attacks actually register. Outside of the story and training modes is Brawl which is in my opinion the best mode in the game. Brawl comes with multiple sub-modes, each of which let you fight up to three AI opponents of your choosing but you can also battle your friends if you so desire. No matter what mode you play through, you’ll earn points from battling and these points can be spent in the store to unlock monsters, environments, artwork, and videos. Some content needs to be unlocked by meeting specific requirements before it can be purchased.
Brawl consists of four sub-modes or game types and it also allows you to create your own custom game. Versus has you fighting opponents in rounds. Classic Melee and Classic Destruction are point-based modes resembling their counterparts in the previous games and Last Man Standing is a mode where the goal is to be the last monster standing. The modes are enjoyable but the best part of Brawl is creating your own custom game type. You can configure the victory conditions, military settings, crystal powers, and player attributes. You can set up teams, configure health and energy regeneration, crystal spawns, and more. There’s a good amount of options to tweak. After choosing a game mode, you can then select one of the nine environments or arenas to battle in. The lack of environments compared to previous games is very disappointing. Granted, those games included many arenas which took place in the same cities but they all still felt different to some degree. Each arena in Unleashed is basically a sandbox with plenty of buildings and structures that can be destroyed. Most of them are just various cities around the Earth but Monster Island and Mothership are also present. Despite the lack of environments in Unleashed, I will admit the ones here do have plenty of atmosphere and personality. Honestly, the tone of the game feels quite a bit different than that of its predecessors. Military forces will populate the environments and attack the monsters. Helicopters, tanks, UFO’s, and alien walkers are all trying to stop them. Projectiles will be flying through the air as the monsters pulverize each other, and when setting up a custom game type you can customize how aggressive the military is and which military types will appear which is pretty cool.
Visually, Godzilla: Unleashed looks okay. It doesn’t look incredible but it doesn’t look horrible either. The monsters are well represented visually and many returning monsters come with slight changes to their appearances but they don’t look bad. The game is filled with plenty of color and the environments are visually diverse. Parts of buildings and structures will fly through the air from attacks and when destroyed, they will crumble resulting in clouds of smoke. While most of the environments are just cities around the globe, they all appear somewhat destroyed, and they all have crystals littered around which, honestly, I got tired of seeing after a while. There are some rocking tunes that accompany the action but the soundtrack doesn’t match up to what was heard in Destroy All Monsters Melee. The sound effects aren’t bad with monsters roaring loudly among all the booming hits, explosions, and stomping as they navigate around the environments. The frame rate will dip when there’s a lot of action on-screen but I didn’t notice any glitches or game-breaking bugs.
Godzilla: Unleashed is okay. It’s not great, it’s not terrible, it’s just okay. The forced motion controls really bring it down. If the game allowed you to play with a controller, I think it would have been much more enjoyable. Unleashed includes a large roster of monsters, three difficulty modes, unlockable content, and numerous modes to play through. The replay value is high and the concept is awesome. On the surface, Unleashed is just like its predecessors. Giant monsters beating each other up while simultaneously destroying things. You can even customize your own game type which is one of the game’s best aspects. It all sounds great but then you play it and discover the motion controls ruin everything. The story blows, too. It’s not like the stories in the previous games were any better but they were simple and clearly just a setup for the giant monster action. I don’t know why they tried so hard with this one. There is a cut scene that goes on for about four minutes. Four minutes of uninteresting characters rambling on about nonsense when all I want to do is fight other monsters. That is the appeal here. If you’re just playing for fun, casually, or to go a few rounds with friends, I can see Unleashed providing some decent entertainment or maybe actual injuries because if you’re all crammed in a small room, you’ll probably inadvertently smack each other from all the swinging, trying to get moves to register. Seriously, it’s a problem and is very annoying.
I would only recommend Godzilla: Unleashed to fans of the franchise or to those that think this looks interesting. Ultimately, I think Save the Earth is the best game in the trilogy. I feel like Unleashed could have been amazing. The roster is large and diverse and it includes all the gameplay elements that make these games so enjoyable. Pure giant monster fighting and plenty of environmental destruction. It’s just a shame controlling it sucks. Why the developers felt the need to force players to swing and shake when the Wii supported a traditional controller is beyond me and Godzilla: Unleashed isn’t the only victim of this. But like many others, it suffers because of it.